We have had a wonderful week in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission.
October 1 is a big transfer day for us so I have been spending some time looking at the transfer board. This isn't your father's mission president's transfer board -- it's all on-line now. I can move people around and try different scenarios.
The only thing I can't do with it that would be helpful is to look ahead for multiple transfers using the different scenarios. I was never really very good at chess and looking ahead several moves is a struggle. Thankfully, the inspiration comes and the missionaries end up where they should.
We were joined by another lone missionary this week. Elder Havea is from Tonga and for some unexplained reason received his training in the New Zealand Missionary Training Center instead of the one here in Ghana. He had traveled two days to get here so he was pretty beat when he arrived.
We gave him some dinner and put him to bed. The next morning, his Trainer, Elder Jensen, joined us and we gave them both some instruction and sent them out into the world.
One day this week (I can't remember which), I was at the eye doctor with Elder Iwuchukwu and Elder Iwuji. The power was off, so we had to wait around and hope that the lights would come back.
While we were waiting, Elder Bannerman and I went downstairs to a store so he could get some water. A man walked by me with the book, "True To The Faith" in his hands. That's an LDS book and he didn't even give me a nod. So, I chased after him and asked how he liked the book. He said he liked it very very much. A friend at work had given it to him and he was "tasting" our Church. We happened to be standing across the street from the stake center, so I invited him to come on Sunday and he gave Elder Bannerman his number so the missionaries could call him. It is so great to see the members of the Church actively involved in sharing the Gospel with their friends.
We finally got Elder Iwuchukwu's eye test done, but when they strapped Elder Iwuji in, the machine broke! I don't think Elder Iwuji is ever going to get his glasses.
On Friday, we had the orientation meeting for our Trainers who will be companions to next week's new missionaries.
On Saturday morning, we traveled to Takoradi for Priesthood Leadership Training for five of our mission branches. We had a nice turnout. All of the leaders had to travel by Tro Tro -- some over very bumpy roads. I am grateful for their dedication. We sang Rise Up O Men of God! Brother Acquah, our Mission Clerk instructed on the use of the tools available on the Member Leadership Services software to support the progress of the members of the Church. Elder Julander spoke on effective goals and I taught about rescuing the lost -- using the principles taught in the parables of Luke 15. It was a nice meeting. Since they had all traveled to get there, we fed them lunch and sent them on their way.
Waiting for the rest of the tros to arrive.
After the meeting, Elder Julander and I collected our companions and headed to Axim for their annual Branch Conference. Since we would need to stay overnight, we had the tough duty of staying at the Axim Beach Resort. It is a beautiful property and only US$80 per room. Sister Stevenson and Sister Julander got a walk in on the beach while Elder Julander and I visited members and missionaries in preparation for the conference on Sunday.
It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
After the visits, we enjoyed a nice dinner at the resort.
This wasn't even date night!
Sister Stevenson's snapper.
President Stevenson's lobster kabobs (there was a sauce for the rice on the side).
Sunday morning, the chapel at Axim was filled to capacity. I was very pleased with the turnout. Elder Quaisie, a full-time missionary is the branch president. He is a great young man and is having the same experiences a bishop would have in a ward. Thankfully, he is very spiritually mature.
We came to Axim with the news that the Church had purchased a large piece of land overlooking the city and the ocean. Our message was, "With great blessings come great responsibility." It was time for the Axim Branch to rise up and shine. President Quaisie and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting and Elder Allen sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". Elder and Sister Julander taught a class on Successful Marriage to all the adults in Sunday School. I taught the youth "The Doctrine of Christ" using the imagery of Lehi's Dream (for our friends who are not yet members of the Church, crack open a copy of the Book of Mormon and read the first 14 chapters of the Book of Nephi plus chapter 31) and Sister Stevenson taught the Primary Children.
During the third hour, we gathered everyone together in the chapel and I briefly reviewed with them the story of the People of Ammon from the Book of Mormon (Alma 17-28), specifically how as a token of the covenant that they made with the Lord to always be faithful, they buried their weapons of war deep in the earth. More importantly, "they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren." We handed each of them a slip of paper that said, "I will do my part to build the Kingdom of God in Axim." and invited them to come with us to the new property, where we would bury the weapons of our rebellion deep in the earth.
The existing building will be torn down and a new chapel built in its place.
After a short dedicatory prayer, the members filed past a hole we had dug in the ground and threw in their slips of paper to show their commitment to strengthening one another. Axim is large enough that it will someday be the home to a Stake of Zion. We tried very hard to plant that vision today.
We were all soaked, but very happy.
Here you go Axim Moms:
We don't normally wear jackets here. In fact, the newer missionaries are not required to even bring one. They sure look sharp though
The ride home was bumpy and satisfying (although not without incident for some).
The Real Date Night:
We were going to take home pizza from Cheez, but Sister Stevenson saw that they had talapia and rice, so we doubled down.
We both ate with our fingers.
Creatures of the Week:
The guardians of the Axim Resort Restaurant ---
The little guy lost his tail so he stayed in "Park" most of the time.